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Friend Computer from Paranoia

I had not originally intended to revisit the world of Paranoia so soon, but given the warm reception Roy G. Biv received, an encore seems in order.

What is Alpha Complex?

Alpha Complex is the setting of the Paranoia RPG. It is a sprawling technological dystopia run by tyrannical benevelent AI system that wants nothing more than for its drones citizens to live drugged happy obedient productive lives.

There are 17575 distinct sectors, each with a different three letter code (appearing at the end of a citizen’s name). Counting them up is almost certainly above your security clearance.

If Alpha Complex exists within an In Nomine game, it is most likely a semi-stationary Ethereal Domain that exists on Beleth’s side of the Marches. For those talented enough to hear it, the domain’s dominant themes are Technology, Paranoia, Bureaucracy, Treachery, and Chaos.

Security Clearance

Everyone in Alpha Complex has been assigned a security clearance. For ease of recognition these security clearances have been color coded and the corresponding letter is included in a citizen’s name in the preantipenultimate position (4th to last).

  • I – Infrared
  • R – Red
  • O – Orange
  • Y – Yellow
  • G – Green
  • B – Blue
  • I – Indigo
  • V – Violet
  • U – Ultraviolet

Roy-G-BIV was from Green Clearance, which is generally the top rank one can achieve outside of police, military, or admin. Police and military are typically Blue clearance while their commanders are Indigo. Violet is mostly meant for top administrators and Ultraviolet are a secret cabal that has successfully hacked friend computer to give them special privileges above your security clearance to even ask about.

Anyone without a security clearance marker in their name (such as mutants or traitors) is assumed to be Infrared Clearance.

Enemies of the Complex

Citizens of Alpha Complex have all been raised to be on the lookout for enemies of the complex. Chief among these are Communists, Mutants, and Traitors.

Sadly, anyone with a Song, Attunement, or inhuman form will be deemed a Mutant should they reveal their “aberation.” Incidentally, a few demons have floated the theory that everyone in Alpha Complex knows a song, even the machines.

Communists are a secret society seeking the overthrow of Friend Computer and replace it with a dictatorship of the proletariat. Most don’t even know what that means, but they don’t need to. Communist propaganda is infectious inside of Alpha Complex. Say “seize the means of production” in a crowded room and within 10 minutes everyone will either be dead or singing the Soviet national anthem while dismantling whatever room they’re in.

Traitors are basically anyone else who gets in the way of Alpha Complexes proper functioning (or the objectives of individuals with high clearance). This includes a number of other secret societies that aren’t quite so hazardous as the Commies.

Consuls and Immigrants

Officially, there are no consuls or immigrants to Alpha Complex because there is nothing outside of alpha complex.

Unofficially, there is a mix of Traitors and Ultraviolet Clearance administrators who know the truth, and each can see the obvious advantage of outside contacts. This has resulted in clandestine immigration centers which will create false Alpha Complex IDs for visiting dignitaries (usually demons).

Those who side with the powers that be can typically get high end clearances (chief consul for hell is Thes-U-LAC*), while those who work with the traitors typically have to make do with lower clearances (chief consul for heaven is Ra-G-IEL). These consuls work for Beleth and Dominic respectively.

Typically speaking, a visiting Celestial will be awarded a phony rank based on their Distinctions – however, any Celestial that reveals their true nature will be noticed by friend computer and branded a Mutant or a Traitor (both Infrared).

Vapula may have a semi-permanent lab here – but any other celestial would be acting in isolation. A lab director would be Violet clearance, but because Hell’s hierarchy works differently than Alpha Complex’s, they would be allowed to keep some secrets from Thes-U-LAC.


Domain Properties

Aspected Domain

Although Alpha Complex has the form of a Technological Domain, the technology here does not always make sense. Instead technology is the backdrop for a Domain that has the aspects of Paranoia (Emotion) and The State (Society).

Intrusive Domain

Those visiting Alpha Complex must succeed at a Will roll every week or gain a rank of Paranoia. Those who do not wish to risk becoming paranoid are, of course, welcome to take advantage of a wide and readily available pharmacopoeia of uppers. This will serve to change the discord in question to one of: addiction, apathy, empathy, merciful, need or obedient.

Self Healing

Over time Alpha Complex will repair itself, Friend Computer will reboot from a backup, dead figments return as new clones, and damaged machines will be repaired.

Communist Propaganda

Anyone who witnesses a use of the Communist Propaganda skill must succeed on a Will roll or gain a level of Communist Propaganda (up to the CD of the initial roll).

If all 3 dice are below the CD of the initial roll, the listener must assist in the spread of Communist Propaganda.

This appears to be a function of the domain itself. Machines appear to be exempt (though it should be noted that there is no currency in Alpha Complex and all citizens are provided materials according to their needs).

Everyone roll Will.

Dreaming vs Hacking

While lucid dreamers can still use their Dreaming skill to affect themselves this will be seen as use of a mutant power and treated accordingly. On the other hand, computers run everything in Alpha Complex, even it’s local reality. Computer Use can be used in place of Dreaming for most dream shaping rolls so long as the desired result can be executed within the framework of Alpha Computer’s metaphor. These changes will eventually be detected, but the higher the CD the longer it should take for Friend Computer to realize something has happened.

Friend Computer

Friend Computer is either an Ethereal Spirit of Paranoia and The State which is the Bound Master of Alpha Complex, or Friend Computer is a Primal Force of the domain. Either way, they’re not going to leave Alpha Complex, and they’re incredibly difficult to remove from within it.

Attacks against Friend Computer must either be made through “Computer Use” combat, or by locating CPU sector and attacking Friend Computer’s hardware directly. Both approaches are quite foolhardy and Friend Computer has no problem hacking the Ethereal Forces of anyone attempting to attack it directly.

Taking Over Alpha Complex

Although Friend Computer is easily strong enough to hold off any human incursion – and Angel or Demon might attempt to usurp direct control of the realm. Doing so would require one to kill Friend Computer and assert dominance over the domain before it reboots.

Once Friend Computer is back online, it will immediately attempt to regain control of the Domain.

It should also be noted that most of the domains figments believe they owe loyalty to ‘Friend Computer,’ not to the ‘Master of Alpha Complex’ which means one would need to act quickly to suborn or remove them.